Interactive map shows where Florida's nuisance alligators are . Alligators are everywhere in Florida – official estimates suggest there may be more than 1.25 million of them in Florida’s waters. They can be found in any body of fresh or brackish water. Statewide, 6,700 nuisance alligators were killed or relocated in 2017. As increasing development caused water quality to decline wildlife and fish became scarce, and hungry gators had a harder time finding food. The largest population of gators live in Gainesville, FL. We are raising $18,000 to build this spectacular exhibit. It’s also mating season, so alligators are on the move. google_ad_channel = "7430929868+8659978313+8546811343+2368462527"; After a terrible tragedy in 1979 in which an eleven-foot alligator killed a teenager in a nearby town, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission became fearful that Blinky might do the same. The FWC came and captured him. For a while he prevailed and chased the bigger Jake around the lake. Alligators live in somewhat colder climates, whereas crocodiles can only be found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. For a real adventure you can rent a bike; if you don’t want to do that you can walk, or take the tram tour. President google_color_bg = "FFFFFF"; PH: 850-984-5297 The crocodile avoided him, hiding in the marshes, but Blinky kept hunting him. As more people moved in the alligators were seen as a nuisance, climbing fences, getting into swimming pools, crossing highways, taking up residence in golf course ponds, drainage ditches and retention pounds that had previously been swamp. Website: http://www.gulfspecimen.org Thousands of them call the area home, and many of those could be called a monster gator. The State had been keeping records of attacks since 1948 and saw the number escalate in the 1970’s. They also protect the nests of some birds. Most people know alligators get just about everywhere in Florida, but now they’ve really leveled up. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, Lake George near the St. Johns River in northwest Florida has the most, with more than 2,300. There doesn’t have to be a lot of water. No South … You can rest assured that each one is home to gators. In 1957 he traveled 300 miles from the Florida Keys to Lake Tarpon in Central Florida, farther north than any other American Salt water crocodile on record. So in the end, the state’s fish and game department had no alternative but to move Blinky to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to live out the rest of his days in peace. google_ad_type = "text_image"; Blinky was to Lakeland what Mickey Mouse is to Disney. Download $19.99, Wildlife of Florida: Lizards In spring, alligators become more active as the days warm up. Three years later, in June of 2018, an alligator killed a 47 year old woman in Davie Florida. At a massive 14’3” and 1003 pounds, Jake was the Crocodile King of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Alligators only live in fresh or brackish water (not in the sea), so any coastal location should be reasonably safe as long as you stay away from fresh water lakes, mangrove swamps, etc. Both alligators and crocodiles came from dinosaurs and it’s believed that alligators have remained unchanged for the most part for over 35 million years. Alligators Everywhere. They are opportunistic hunters They seem to be accustomed to bikes zipping by, but don’t get too close, and never feed or poke at them. Catching a glimpse of an alligator, especially near one of Central Florida's lakes, is not a surprise. Upon hearing the sad story, the residents of Lakeland grieved for their beloved alligator and built a monument to him on the shores of Lake Mirror where he had reigned as king for so many years. //2007-08-21: wildlife, articles, places, root Videos from last week show one swimming in … The good news is that there are plenty of places that you can go and see them safely, as well as learn about these fascinating creatures. In 1996 a boy fell off his bicycle and onto an alligator while riding on the trail. var AdBrite_Title_Color = '0000FF'; If you are, chances are that you want to see one of the state’s most famous animals – the alligator. google_color_link = "0000FF"; Long ago in the central Florida city where I grew up, I got wrapped up in a game of after-school football in a field next to Lake Maggiore. Jake ate Blinky to the great embarrassment of the park and the FWC who tried to hush it up, but word got out that park workers found only a few pieces of him remaining early the next morning. Love them or hate them, alligators are part of Florida, and always will be. One man wrote, “We’re talking about a cold-blooded reptile, not a cute little puppy.” The city commissioners, being Blinky fans themselves, considered several options. Lake Kissimmee near Orlando comes in second with just shy of 2,000. Alligators are naturally timid and don’t attack unless they’re provoked, so seeing one take a day trip into town isn’t the most dangerous thing that’ll happen in Texas. Expect to see them anywhere and everywhere along Florida… They’re found in swimming pools. My team fell behind, and in … The residents of this Lagoon are fed approximately five hundred pounds of fresh fish and beef every week so Blinky will have his share of the feast. Disclaimer: it's important to be aware and safe around these Sunshine State residents. The chance of someone being attacked is one in 3.2 million. He seemed to be adjusting to his new environment just fine and is swimming happily around the lagoon, making the acquaintance of his fifty new alligator neighbors and Jake the fifteen-foot crocodile. That increased to 7,114 last year, according to FWC data. The one eyed bull alligator was used to having his own way and was more aggressive and agile than Jake. You'll find our Gator Pond in the heart of our Gator Park (what some may call an alligator park) full of over 100 rescued and Wild Florida native alligators, with experts inside to tell you more about them. google_ad_format = "120x600_as"; The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile native to the Southeastern United States, with a small population in Mexico. An estimated 1.3 million alligators live in Florida, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife. The worst years for fatalities were 2001 and 2006, with three people dying each of those years from Florida alligator attacks. But alligators keep their population in check. Making room for more desirable fish such as bass. Try These Thoughtful Good Friday Activities to Make the Holiday Meaningful for Kids Often the dog or cat simply disappears. The Everglades are home to more than anywhere else in the state. REVIEW: Honukini Swimwear- Handmade Bikinis Made in Florida, How to Choose a Wedding Dress for the Beach, TEXT ONLY- BATTLE OF THE TITANS Florida Living Magazine is your online source for retiring, living and traveling to Florida and the Florida Keys. Wildlife of Florida 2011 They live in freshwater rivers, lakes, swamps, and marshes. You can help by making contributions to Gulf Specimen Marine Lab & Aquarium, a tax exempt, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. At least, that’s what the humans intended. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window), Shark Valley–Photograph Alligators in the Wild and Up Close, Fishing for Sharks from a Kayak or Small Boat, https://www.facebook.com/GulfSpecimenAquarium/, REVIEW: Florida Salt Scrubs – All Natural Coconut Based Sunscreen, Salt Scrubs, and Lip Balm, How to clean seashells, sea urchins and coral. Fiona Sunquist Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GulfSpecimenAquarium/. We've got that covered as well. There are so many alligators in Florida, that it sometimes appears they are overpopulating. google_color_border = "FFFFFF"; in the Royal Palm area of Everglades National Park. Although it was illegal, people came down to the lake to feed him his favorite food, marshmallows. Nearly twenty years later, in 1998, Jake died from a fungal infection. No doubt Jake was thinking, “Ooh! By Jack Rudloe, President. The Hazardous Waters Alligators are able to be found both in brackish and fresh waters, including rivers, canals, ponds on golf courses and lakes. “Being king of that lake (Mirror) down there, I guess he figured he had to be king here, too,” said J.P. Garner, attractions manager at Homosassa Springs, to The Lakeland Ledger in April 1979. Here you'll find all you need to know from the best place to move to and live in to what wildlife you'll encounter throughout the state from the Panhandle down to Key West. On the third night Blinky climbed over the fence and attacked Jake. A local taxidermist made a cast of Jake so he could be remembered and reproduced in fiberglass models. Fiona Sunquist https://miami.cbslocal.com/2020/11/20/multiple-sightings-giant- The Shark Valley entrance to Everglades National Park is on the Tamiami Trail. A juvenile alligator is more likely to be eaten by a big alligator than fall prey to another predator. Alligators in Florida are a common sight in the wild and well worth seeing. They can be … Blinky the 12-foot alligator and Jake the 14-foot crocodile took an instant dislike to each other and began fighting. This will tell the story of two famous crocodilians, Jake and Blinky, who fought to the death and are now immortalized as fiberglass models. Dogs, cats, plastics, tin cans and occasional humans were added to their menu. There two commercial fishermen accidently caught him in their gillnet and called the Florida Fresh Water Fish and Game Commission. There were Blinky billboards, tee shirts and buttons. In fact, alligators are so synonymous with the state that they are found in 67 counties, and the University of Florida even has an alligator as their mascot. According to a 2015 survey, “the (Florida) lake that had the most gators overall was Lake George, located on the St. Johns River. Almost all the lakes, swamps and canals should be considered alligator habitat, and if you are fishing, walking a dog, or thinking about swimming anywhere, you should be aware that there will most likely be alligators in the water. Maybe they’re defending their territory, or maybe it’s something else. The original model remains in the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park today. document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,83,67,82,73,80,84));document.write(' src="http://ads.adbrite.com/mb/text_group.php?sid=1671610&zs=3136305f363030&ifr='+AdBrite_Iframe+'&ref='+AdBrite_Referrer+'" type="text/javascript">');document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,47,83,67,82,73,80,84,62)); , gator/crocs | birds | mammals | snakes | turtles | frogs/toads | lizards | sharks, Wildlife | Favorite Activities | My Destinations | about us | resources | site map | home, web site development by Creative Communications. try{var AdBrite_Iframe=window.top!=window.self?2:1;var AdBrite_Referrer=document.referrer==''?document.location:document.referrer;AdBrite_Referrer=encodeURIComponent(AdBrite_Referrer);}catch(e){var AdBrite_Iframe='';var AdBrite_Referrer='';} Jake the Crocodile was a wanderer. From 1973 to 2016 the human population in Florida swelled from roughly eight million people to twenty million and 24 people were killed by gators. On the blog, we go over five facts about alligators that surprise our guests the most when they visit. The alligators here are known to leave the comfort of their watery homes and venture into the city towards shopping centers and other human populated areas. They’re used to people being close by. They take chicks that fall out of the nest as payment.Alligators eat a lot of gar. South Florida is prime alligator country. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” And Blinky had learned the truth behind the admonition, “Be careful what you wish for!” Alligator bites are most likely to occur in or around water, as gators aren't well-equipped to capture prey on dry land. Once he entered a church during a wedding, and was escorted back to the lake by motorcycle police officers coaxing him along with marshmallows. In order to present a proper setting for Jake and Blinky, and to commutate their Battle of the Titans, we are planning a Disney-quality diorama prepared by Keith Padgett of Art FX- Studios in Crawfordville, Florida. Be careful. The models are now on display and our visitors are enjoying the opportunity to see an American saltwater crocodile and an American alligator, both fully grown. His father and mother tried to rescue him; the father was attacked by a second alligator. Florida residents know that we share the state with a large alligator population — an estimated 1.3 million to be exact! He was a superstar, perhaps the most famous alligator in Florida. FAX:850-984-5233 As long as I can, I will continue to do this, ”says Hibler. Alligators are found in all 67 counties in the Sunshine State, too. The driver is not allowed to play. Several park attendants helped lift Blinky out of the cart and to the banks of the Lagoon. google_color_url = "008000"; Florida has about 30,000 lakes and 1.3 million alligators. And there have only been 23 fatalities between 1948 and 2016. One resident recalled, “Anytime he saw people, he would come out on shore like a pet dog and hold court.”. google_ad_height = 600; The Everglades are home to more than anywhere else in the state. It is one of two extant species in the genus Alligator within the family Alligatoridae; it is larger than the only other living alligator species, the Chinese alligator. Shark Valley in the Everglades is arguably the best place to get close to a wild gator. Blinky ashore hoping for marshmallows and popcorn, and they bagged him in ten minutes. His parents saved him and all recovered. Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, Florida is in the process of building a new exhibit, THE BATTLE OF THE TITANS. Still, exercise caution. Residents recalled him sleeping beneath a park bench on which a drunkard was passed out. This, and their territoriality, limit the population. 222 Clark Drive While alligators live in all 67 Florida counties, the regions with the most nuisance alligators generally are in Central Florida and along the Gulf Coast, the data shows. Alligators are quite common in swamps, bogs, and marshes in Florida. The alligators provide security. Maria's Most Recent Stories. Florida Alligators eat a lot of trash fish. Large populations are found in Florida, southern Georgia, and Louisiana. There's no better place to see alligators than in Florida. A lot of north west Florida is alligator free, as are most coastal cities. Look for them basking along the edge of almost any water body, canals, ponds and even water hazards on golf courses. The FWC was in an untenable situation since three people had been killed by alligators in the past five years, and dozen more were seriously wounded. Children can climb on the monsters as they stand in opposition to each other. Love fishing and searching for seashells on the beach? var AdBrite_Background_Color = 'FFFFFF'; Notify me of follow-up comments by email. “Blinky arrived at Homosassa Springs attraction just after nine o’clock riding in the back of the attraction’s white pickup truck. The gator grabbed the boy and tried to drag him into the water, but some adults intervened, and the alligator released the child. Over the next twenty years the big gray crocodile he continued to grow and kept attacking them, sometimes inflicting major wounds. The quick answer is not very. var AdBrite_Text_Color = '000000'; In the 1970s, the Chamber of Commerce created an alligator costume with a long tail and an eye patch for the Christmas parade, and One-Eyed Joe, as he had been called for years, became “Blinky.” He was promoted as the world’s friendliest alligator. They’re living dinosaurs we can observe today. There are no accurate statistics on how many pets are taken. Historically, alligators ranged from southern Virginia to the Florida Keys, west to the Rio Grande and up to southern Oklahoma. J.P. Garner and everyone at Homosassa Springs would like to welcome Binky’s friends and Lakeland and everywhere around the state to visit him in his new home”. Florida averages five unprovoked bites per year. The easiest way to see an alligator is to go to one of the many zoos and alligator farms, but if you want to see these impressive reptiles in the wild, there are several places you can go to increase your chances of getting a really good look at them. But gators don't stay confined to the swampy areas. When Kevin Hibler is not working at the car wash, he is looking for alligators in Manat. The frequency of serious, unprovoked alligator bites has grown in Florida, along with the state's population -- but fatal attacks remain rare. Orlando topped the list, with 235, and Sarasota and Tampa came in second and third place, respectively, with 176 and 174 removals last year. Your email address will not be published. But placing chain-link fence around the lake sounded tacky, and extending a concrete wall around the lake to match the rest of the Lake Mirror Promenade would cost an arm and a leg. Shark Valley is an alligator bonanza. But if there were, would Lake Jesup claim the prize? The roadside ditch on the north side of the Tamiami Trail is also a good place to see alligators. He had been carefully tied and his nose tapped for the trip and no time was wasted in bringing the gator back to the park where he was transferred to a cart and transported by J.P. Garner to Gator Lagoon. Florida alligator bite statistics date back to 1948, ranging around three major bites per year. var AdBrite_URL_Color = '008000'; An alligator, 4 to 7 feet long, dragged the victim under water in the Seven Seas Lagoon about 9pm on June 14, 2016, at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa just outside ofT Orlando, Florida. Twelve feet long, he was the King of Lake Mirror in Lakeland, a ferocious warrior who had lost an eye and a front foot in battles with other gators. The farther south you go on mainland Florida, the more likely you’ll see wild alligators. His legs were untied and his nose untapped and the giant saurian needed only a little push before he took the plunge into the cool waters of his new home. In South Florida, winter is the best time to see alligators in the wild. In the 1920’s steam shovels began draining the Everglades, digging up wetlands and stripping away the native vegetation to build subdivisions and canals with sea walls. Want to know where […] No one is sure why. Every minute, every day, he’d be looking for him.”. There doesn’t have to be a lot of water. The whole trail is wheelchair accessible and the alligators and birds are accustomed to people, so the photo opportunities are amazing. They relocated the eight foot reptile to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Attraction and released him into their lagoon. However, the friends and family of people they’ve killed or injured would disagree. google_ad_client = "pub-3201763656916690"; Their natural prey is anything they can swallow whole. google_ad_width = 120; He had hunted out dangerous reptiles before, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission asked him to become a contract alligator hunter 5 years ago. Tram tours leave hourly beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, call (305) 221-8455; www.sharkvalleytramtours.com. South Florida is prime alligator country. They may look sleepy, but they can be fast and dangerous. 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